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409

part of the bulla. It is an African genus, containing two species
which are spotted. The tail is ringed.
Gynogctle is at any rate a partially aquatic, short- tailed, web-
footed, reddish brown -coloured Civet, which lives upon fish and
Crustacea, and inhabits the M"alay Peninsula, Sumatra, and
Borneo. It has long " moustaches," and is said to have a head
bearing a singular resemblance to the head of the Insectivorous
** Otter " Potamogaf-e. The metatarsus is bald, and the pollex and
hallux are very well developed.
Sub-Fam. 6. Herpestinae.  There are over twenty species of
fferpestes (Mongooses) divided between the Ethiopian and Oriental
regions, one species, H. ichneumon, being also found in Europe.
The fur has a " pepper and salt '* appearance ; the feet are
plantigrade. There are five fingers and toes. The pollex and
hallux are small ; the tail is long. The tarsus and meta-
tarsus are usually naked. The Egyptian species " has been
injudiciously denominated the Cat of Pharaoh/' It is perhaps
better known as Pharaoh's Mouse. The beast is so far Cat-like
that it will destroy Hats and Mice ; and it has been exported to
sugar plantations for that very purpose. More famous are its
combats with venomous serpents. According to Aristotle and
Pliny the Ichneumon first coats its body with a coating of mud,
in which it wallows, and then, with this armour can defy
the serpent. Topsell tells the tale better. The Ichneumon
burrows in the sand, and ** when the aspe espyeth her threaten-
ing rage, presently turning about her taile, provoketh the
ichneumon to combate, and with an open mouth and lofty head
doth enter the list, to her owne perdition. For tlie ichneumon
being nothing afraid of this great bravado, receiveth the en-
counter, and taking the head of the aspe in his mouth biteth
that off to prevent the casting out of her poison." In the West
Indies the animal has been described as fearlessly attacking the
deadly Fer de Lance and receiving its bites with impunity; it is
also added that it will eat the leaves of a particular plant as an
antidote ! The real explanation of the result of these encounters
is of course the agility of the Ichneumon *  -fort cauteleuse beste* as
Belon. says.
Another species, Hi allicauda, is distinguished, as the name
denotes, by its white tail. A species of this genus, If.
* See also vol. vlii. p. 591,